The Gnat Namouss and the Elephant from Tales of the Dervishes
Although enormously attractive as sheer entertainment, Dervish tales were never presented merely on the level of a fable, legend or folklore. They stand in comparison in wit, construction and piquancy with the finest stories of any culture, yet their true function as Sufi teaching stories is so little-known in the modern world, that no technical or popular terms exist to describe them. The material in Tales of the Dervishes is the result of a thousand years of development, during which Dervish masters used these and other teaching stories to instruct their disciples. The tales are held to convey powers of increasing perception unknown to the ordinary man.
‘For every decade we live, we will find another meaning in each story’ – Desmond Morris, BBC The World of Books